Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Time to re-boot

After an extended holiday of two months, going back to work was a hard ask. Although keen to get back on the bandwagon, having to go to bed at midnight on a Sunday night (which is fast becoming my night out of choice) and getting up at 7.30 is a hard ask, damn it! Further, bouncing off the passenger side door of a Vauxhall - whose driver decides that they don’t need to stop at a Zebra crossing or even after you ricochet off the side causing you to fall backwards and land on your arse in front of quite a large group of people - really wasn’t a great way to start my second Monday morning. So after I could feel my arse again following my audition for England’s Wildest Drivers Part 7, I thought how on earth was I going to survive another week! Then I thought, well, you need money in the UK, so get up.

But while lounging around ol’ London town in a manner that very much replicated Hugh Hefner - never getting out of my pyjamas - I realised three things:

- The staff at the gym are much hotter for the evening crowd, with the duds put on the day shift.
- Hollyoaks is cool – it’s Neighbours with slag fights and nudity
- The UK is like Dell.

This brings me to why I really haven’t added much over the past few weeks. My computer died. It was when this happened I started to notice similarities.

1. Help button
All computers have a help button. Does it really help? I think not. You press that little bugger and a paper clip appears asking you to follow the links to find the solution. This is basically saying figure it out yourself, dumb arse. The UK has this too. I am yet to find any government organisation or bank that can help. It is simply a process of passing you on to the next person to get you off their hands. I actually want to be connected to an Indian call centre, at least they’ll answer my questions – or try for that matter! My credit card application got stalled the other day. The lady in the UK call centre couldn’t find my details after 10 minutes. ‘Denise’ – the Indian lady - has it in 3 seconds! When she asked about how much money I had in my account I asked her why she didn’t know. Her response: “I’m terribly sorry sir; the home branch in Britain will not let us look at customers’ details,” (I didn’t comment that she was pretending to be in Britain previously and just shot herself in the foot). So, you everyone has to call the call centre in India and they don’t give them details – nice.

2. Hardware
Dell has a cheeky little system where its computers will only work with Dell parts, so you need to get those parts to get it working again. The UK is the same. There’s no point applying any type of logic - a non-UK part - that exists in the rest of the world to any problems you may face here. A few of my personal favourites (and nearly all revolve around banks!!):

HSBC online credit card application. Once you have finished it, for the Platinum cards they make you print it out and drop it in at a local branch?? Then an Indian lady calls you three weeks later.
Credit card approval letter lost in the mail twice? Have to apply again – don’t bother trying to find out why it was lost in the first place.
Can’t get a bank account until you have a job. Job needs to know your bank account details before you start.
£4.40 for a tube ride if you pay cash. £1.50 if you use an Oyster card. Now you’re just having a laugh.


What gets me is people actually have to think up these inane paradoxical rules in the first place. How is it that my local HSBC manager can not locate my credit records, but ‘Denise’ with the strong Indian accent in the call centre knows absolutely everything about me down to what I had for breakfast.

Ah logic, the non-Dell hardware of the UK.

3. Warranty
When a Dell passes its warranty, it usually shits itself and packs it in. Unfortunately that’s not the way it happens here. When everything actually starts going your way and you start understanding what’s going on – or simply accept that it won’t change – your warranty (Visa) runs out and it’s time to go home.

4. Time frame
When you first get your Dell you stay up for endless nights trying to figure out the settings, listening to repetitive beeps and music, and looking at all the flashy colours and lights, etc. When you first get to the UK you stay up all night…and, well we’ll just leave it there.

5. System failure
When a Dell fails, it pretty much says system failure and it’s game over until someone fixes it. In the UK, well, people go to the pub and hope no one notices:

If you can’t read it, this actually appeared on The Times website, arguably one of the largest newspapers in the world and Rupert Murdoch’s flagship. It says that they have finished redesigning their website and now have to wait for the chnages to kick in to place, which will take a few days.
God I love this place. But I digress once again.

So now it’s back to work and the merry-go-round that is London life continues unabated. The nights of four hours sleep before falling out of bed to start it all over again have once again become a fixture, but really Londonites, would we have it any other way?

Tuesday night Sarah and I went to watch Cat Empire in Islington. I had to admit I was a little surprised that they were charging £20 for a ticket when Jet only charged £15 and Pearl Jam £30. It was an okay show, but I really couldn’t get in to it that much. They were pretty energetic and went for a while, but a big weekend followed by another Monday night didn’t bode well for standing in a club for 3 hours. Although on a good note, I was surrounded by at least 30 young girls between 18 and 23. Looking up at the stage though I couldn’t stop thinking I know that drummer. After a little while it hit me – that’s Lachie Hull-Brown - an old friend from University. Struck with confusion I was wondering why I hadn’t heard he was playing for them. But after a quick google search the next morning I was close: it’s his younger brother, Will. Last time I saw him was playing drums at Lachie’s 18th. But Lachie, if you see this, struth you boys look similar.

And finally, with the start of the new footy season three weeks away, I would like to introduce you to West London, our arch rivals and the team that we wrestle with for the premiership each year. Must be their inspirational speeches????? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVub6EDYovg


Compared to our fearless leader: http://www.bugbitten.com/blogs/Europe/Bartron/BARFL_Grand_Finaland_after.html

I know where my heart lies!

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